Monday, September 12, 2011

Driving Rain

I awoke the next morning of my motorcycle trip- in no hurry to venture out into the rain.  I met two other couples in the dining room of the motel and we chatted about our routes over breakfast.  They had come from Seneca Falls and recommended it for the scenery.   Although the cabins they told me about would be something I’d enjoy, I really wanted to head south.  

The fourth patch I could earn on this trip was for traveling a trio of roads: 219, 250 and 220.  A glance at my map, revealed two options for this route- I decided to take 250 east to 220 then head south.  That would put me in southern West Virgnia, where I could sleep in one place for a few days and take short day trips on the motorcycle.

Before falling asleep the night before, I’d washed all my clothes and developed a strategy for getting through the following rainy day- a habit, by now.  I’d dried my gloves on the vent and let my pants and jacket hang to dry overnight.  That morning, I lined my duffel bag with garbage bags and packed all of my belongings inside them. I wore lightweight pants under my rain suit and tucked my feet into plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet again.  Then I slipped my rain jacket on over my leather jacket, put on my helmet and took off in the rain, headed for 250.

Within a matter of minutes, my hands were freezing.  I was going to be battling the rain and the cold.  I stopped at the mini-mall to find a pair of latex gloves.  The only pair available ripped as soon as I put them on.  I rode on further- determined to make a go of it.  I didn’t get far before I pulled over to gas up and change under the awning.  Water had managed to leak into my right boot and my foot was soaked.  I changed my socks, adjusted the plastic bag turned liner.  I also exchanged the leather jacket for the heated jacket.  Topped with the rain jacket, I would stay warm and dry, yet still have freedom of movement.  I also put on my heated gloves.  Newly armed, I ventured back out into the rain.

The rain lightened up a bit as I wound around and through the mountain roads past streams and forests growing from rocking outcroppings.  Riding in some mountain ranges, one can see the towering rocks pushing up into the sky.  Through this area though, it was the tree tops that formed the mountain range.  All the trees linked together created a great sea of green rolling across the edge of the sky like a wave.  At the base of this sea was a great golden “beach” of farmland dotted with farmhouses and barns.  As I rolled through each curve, I’d see this range and the farms below it through the breaks in the trees at the road’s edge.  It was like a little gift each time the trees parted to afford me that view. 

 I was riding my favorite kind of roads in beautiful country but felt like the ride had become all about dealing with the weather.  Instead of challenging my riding skills, the trip was challenging my coping skills. The rain was pouring down.  I felt like I was just hanging on for the ride.    The bike was holding up, the roads were in excellent condition but the rain was seeping into me and sapping my strength.
To get a break from the rain, I stopped in a quaint town for sandwich and tea.  My map made 220 look like a straight shot and I thought I’d pick up speed and cover some ground. 

Sure enough, the ride was fast and easy.  Covington, appeared to be one massive industrial plant.  Three separate driveways along a one-mile stretch lead into the plant.  It was like coming upon a scene in a sci-fi movie.  Semi’s turned out of the plant, one after another.  Piles of saw dust stood high as sand dunes underneath conveyor belts.  This town felt empty and sad.   I left it behind quickly by jumping on 64 west; I was on a mission to find lodging for the night.  There were several hours left in the day to ride, but my body was done.  I spotted signs for a visitor center and stood just inside the door, a pool of water gathering around me, as I asked for suggestions.   The B&B they referred me to, didn’t have any clean beds after the holiday weekend; she steered me “just 9 miles down the road” to Lewisburg, West Virginia with promises of an Inn and an attached restaurant.  Rain continued to poor down on my ride and my reserves were gone- I needed the charm of an Inn, rather than another Super 8 and marched on expectantly.

I pulled up to a 2 story white colonial with a circle drive and front porch that beckoned me in with its double-door entry.  Inside, an antique desk with a ledger and hand-loomed oriental rugs greeted guests.   A drawing room off to the left was filled with antique chairs grouped together around a fireplace.  I followed the hall around the corner down to my room.   Inside, a double bed stood so tall, I needed a stool to climb into it.  It was topped with a down comforter and 4 fluffy pillows.  Next to it was a small walnut desk and chair and beside that a narrow closet for my riding jacket and pants.  A television stood atop and antique dresser across from the bed.  In the corner, a narrow door lead into a crisp white bathroom just big enough to stand in.  I lugged in my bags, hung my gear up to dry out and filled the tub for a hot bath.  Although these accommodations were more luxurious than I’d intended for my trip- they were exactly what I needed.   I called the front desk and told her I’d take the room for two nights then I grabbed a book and settled into the tub to warm up and relax.

After cleaning up, I nestled in bed with my computer to write.  Up until that point, I hadn’t carved out any time to write.  I promised myself the next 2 days would be devoted to writing and enjoying the town.  I’d had enough of trying to get somewhere.    I wanted time to reflect on all I’d seen. 

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